When Heather gave me the opportunity to review an Epic 6 Letterpress Combo Kit by Lifestyle Crafts, a division of QuicKutz (best known for their die-cutting tools), I jumped at the chance! I’ve always been jealous of those neatly-made, professional-looking cards and invitations I’ve seen floating around. I’m still mastering the process, but I love my new Letterpress, and I have some tips that you may not have read elsewhere!

The first thing I did was read the manuals. I was still a bit foggy, so I watched some video tutorials which clarified a lot of the steps I wasn’t quite sure about. Then I got to my favorite part (well, other than using the machine that is…) – opening everything! Here’s what I got in my big box:

Letterpress Combo Kit

As you can see, there was a lot there to get me started. [Note: Lifestyle Crafts sent me extra items that do not come in the kit.] As you can see, this kit isn’t just a letterpress – it also does die cuts! I picked up a few other plates and dies at Hobby Lobby (not pictured) before I really got going.

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The kit includes “everything you need to die cut, emboss, and letterpress!”

  • Epic tool
  • Cutting platform
  • Cutting mat
  • Embossing platform
  • Letterpress platform
  • Ink base
  • Ink brayer
  • Black ink
  • Printing plates
  • Paper placement guides
  • A2 paper pack
  • Adhesive sheets
  • Nesting Circles cutting dies

 

 

Cleaning Cloths

Items you should run out and buy immediately:

  • Lifestyle Crafts branded wipes [pictured above] – you’ll use way too much elbow grease and swearing if you don’t use these magical cloths – they’re a lifesaver!
  • Letterpress-approved paper – you will get some in the kit, but go out and get cards and envelopes, and whatever else you desire. Make sure it’s thick, cotton paper. You won’t get a crisp image or a deep impression with regular cardstock.
  • Ink in other colors – a definite necessity if you want to make something with a color other than black.

 

Tape tip
Tips and Tricks:

  • Don’t cheap out and use cardstock. Your best results will occur with the thicker paper mentioned above.
  • Use a FLAT table. The plastic table I use dips a bit in the middle. This can create uneven ink application.
  • To get the adhesive to really stick to your printing plates, run the brayer over them on a flat surface.
  • Cut out all your printing plate pieces before spreading your ink. This way you can use your brayer in the tip above, and your ink won’t dry out.
  • Keep all of your ink tubes in a bag just in case you got a little on the outside.
  • Use painter’s tape! This is a great way to hold down your cards more precisely, and you can use it to tape off the parts of a plate you want to have ink, and the parts you don’t. [pictured above]
  • Make sure you have LOTS of room. You’ll not only need room for your machine, but room to lay out your printing plates, dies, ink, embossing/printing mats, a work area and room for drying projects.
  • Once you get most of the ink off your plates, rub the cloth over it really well until you see bubbles. Then use a Q-tip to get in all the cracks!

 

What I Made (complete mess-ups not pictured!):

 

Thinking of You Card Thanks
For the decorative line, I just embossed it, then colored it in with a colored pencil. This uses Dollar Tree computer paper folded in quarters to make a card!
Boo cards

I used the die-cut feature to cut out the letters for these cards.

 

Background Tree
This will be used as a background for a card. It’s really pretty in gold with the deep impressions. The beginnings of a Christmas card!

 

I did a whole Letterpress project with multiple pieces, start to finish, in one hour. I found that drying time (especially for metallic ink) needs to be at least 48 hours for no ink to rub off on fingers.

Three cheers for a Letterpress machine that I can afford, fits in my office, and can create multiple projects in an afternoon!

For a comparison of this product vs a real (big, heavy, expensive, professional) letterpress, Boxcar Press has a great review and a lot of tips I wish I knew when I got started!

Not sure what to make with your Letterpress machine? Here are some ideas from Lifestyle Crafts.

(Disclosure:  The Letterpress machine and accessories were provided free for review.)